…as Mirabel celebrates 2nd anniversary
With about 760 cases of sexual assault recorded in two years and only two convictions in Lagos, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday, declared war against perpetrators of rape in the state, saying ‘desist from such act or face the music.’
Making the declaration at the second anniversary of the Mirabel Sexual Assault Referral Centre, the governor, who was represented by the state Solicitor-General, Mr. Lawal Pedro, described rape as criminal and expressed his commitment and passion to descend heavily on anyone with the intention to take advantage of the female folks.
He advised victims to report to the appropriate centres as early as possible.
Regretting that justice had remained difficult to dispense in cases of sexual offence due to inadequate evidence in most cases, Ambode said: “Rape is an offence that requires the victim to provide concrete evidence, which would help in the prosecution procedures and fresh evidence are crucial in identifying and ascertaining if the crime was actually committed or not.”
Ambode also stressed the importance of comprehensive forensic analysis in determining true rape cases, revealing that Lagos State had put measures in place and given necessary assistance to facilitate quick and seamless adjudication of justice.
On the lessons learned in the last two years, Managing Partner of the referral centre, Mrs. Itoro Eze-Anaba, said victims of rape should not be blamed for any reason, warning that giving excuses and passing blames to victims was tantamount to justifying the act.
She said it was easier to empathise with children who are assaulted, but often difficult to believe adults when they are sexually molested.
While commending those who had partnered with the centre, including the Police, in the last two years to record tremendous success, Eze-Anaba called on all to be part of the campaign to eradicate rape.
To sustain activities at the centre, she pleaded for sponsorship, adding that those who suffer one form of molestation or the other needed a trusted voice to speak for them.
She encouraged victims not to bottle up their experience in shame, but to speak out and fight for justice.